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Market Focus


Dublcheck Graham and Jen


Coulston Hermann


Graham retired from Lancashire Constabulary after 30 years of service, leaving behind his role as chief superintendent, in charge of one of the force’s six divisions. His wife Jen, an inspector with the police, also left the service to support her husband in the business.


What made you invest in a Dublcheck franchise? GCH: We wanted to do something a little different, so we bought our Dublcheck franchise back in September 2012. We’ve been successfully trading for four years and have more than quadrupled our turnover! Jen and I attended The British Franchise Exhibition in Manchester in June 2012. During the day, we spent some time on the Dublcheck stand and we were taken by the friendly, helpful people. We came away and looked at the figures and liked the idea of there being the potential for guaranteed turnover in year one. We also liked the idea that we didn’t need to take out a huge loan from the bank, as the start-up costs and initial investment level were quite low in comparison to some other franchises we looked at.


What support did you receive from the franchisor? GCH: We had a mentor for the first 12 months who provided valuable advice and guidance as well as a second set of eyes to run things past.


Do you feel you had any transferable skills? GCH: We look back now and can see that we had more transferable skills than we thought, such as dealing with people and attention to detail. As a result of this, our business now turns over in excess of £210,000 per year. Our Dublcheck journey has been fantastic so far and we look forward to growing to the next level with the support of the head office team. Every month we grow in confidence, visiting all our clients to check on the quality of our service.


What prompted your decision to invest in a Greensleeves franchise together? HR: Having explored franchises in other sectors we decided that, for a less stressful lifestyle, Greensleeves ticked all the boxes. Having met the franchisors we saw that they had a simple plan and a proven record, which encouraged us to nurture our own business to a level that we will be content with, without enforcing targets and increasing expectations from the start. As they had all started as franchisees in the business they were fully aware of our concerns and their no-pressure methods enforced our own decision.


What strengths do each of you bring to the business? HR: Craig has had years of experience working outdoors managing parkland and gardens and has always had a hands on approach. It has always been the goal to view each job as if it was your own property and take the attitude to always achieve your best through effort. I have many years experience of managing outdoor estates with the added benefits of administrative and company duties, dealing with customers and I pride myself on my organisational skills.


What are the benefits of working with your partner? CS: Many have often said to us that they couldn’t work with their partner. After more than 20 years of working together we have a system that has been successful. We can both focus on different aspects of the business and the adage of “a problem shared is a problem halved” is very fitting for the business. Working together means


and company directors on equine grassland estates in charge of operations, administration and staff.


Greensleeves


Lawn Care Helen Richardson and Craig Safford


Helen and Craig were at the stage in their lives where they wanted to work for themselves and be in control of their own business. They now run the Greensleeves in Huntingdon and Kettering.


that, after a days graft in the office, we can switch off and relax in the evenings.


How do you fit work around family life? CS: From the start we decided that as the administration was not completely full time it enabled Helen to fit family commitments around the work.


This was most important to us and fully endorsed by Greensleeves. Our franchise has had a positive impact on family life and allows us to provide our two teenage children with work during the school holidays!


What did you do prior to franchising? HR: We have both been estate managers


How have you found working together so far? HR: It has been great. We have had no problems but this is nothing new for us. As in any relationship there are the odd disagreements but by bouncing off each other’s strengths we usually achieve what we set out to do.


What strengths do each of you bring to the business? HR: Two heads are better than one! Craig has the knowledge of the work and machinery, and I have the customer, office and administrative duties. Together we hope to fit in with the business model seriously.


Are there any disadvantages to working with your spouse? CS: Of course! Being organised and told what to do at home and at work can be trying at times but, let’s face it, it keeps us both on our toes and ultimately allows us to be more efficient. Helen insists it is good for me and keeps me productive! Helen also insists that I change my work clothes and clean up after myself before I am allowed back in the house after work!


What kind of support have you received from the franchisor? CS: The head office team has been fantastic. In particular David and Phil from the head office have given us regular field visits and phone calls. Plus, they are always available if we need them.


June 2016 | BusinessFranchise.com | 61


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